Every Thursday, Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn leads a group of fellow bloggers on “Tough Travels”, a trip through the tropes that populate the fantasy and sci-fi world, using Diane Wynne Jones’ hilarious The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as a guide.
This week’s subject is “Independence Battles”:
Okay, the war for independence in Guardians of the West is a stretch. But there is a rebellion fomenting in Aloria to remove Belgarion from the throne and replace him with his infant son. It’s all an astroturfing project from the evil Angaraks, but a lot of ignorant Alorians get caught up in the religious fervor and are brutally put down. But despite their religious hatred of Belgarion, he orders mercy against the misguided fundamentalists.
Last week we looked at Duke Leto Atreides’ ill-fated tenure as ruler of Arrakis. This week we get to see the aftermath. As the Harkonnens reassert their rule over the desert planet, Leto’s son Paul escapes to the live among the native Fremen. With his cunning and superhuman abilities, Paul, is recognized by the Fremen as their messiah, Muad’Dib, and leads the Fremen rebellion and drives the Harkonnens from the planet. Of course he also fell victim to the corruption of power, becoming a tyrant as the series progressed. But that’s another trope.
The mysterious Alex Marshall’s debut follows a revolutionary woman whose war for independence succeeded. She then abdicated, faking her death to live in obscurity. Cold Cobalt had retired to a remote village where she lived with her husband, the mayor, until he and the villagers were brutally slaughtered. At that point Cold Cobalt reassembled her forces and returned to the battlefield, again raising an army of the oppressed to overthrow the church and crown.
The Lord Ruler has used his vast allomantic powers to keep the citizens of Scadrial in their place, everyone in rigidly enforced castes, brutally enforced by the Steel Inquisitors. But the thief Kelsier dreams of casting off the yoke of the Lord Ruler. Using his powers as a Mistborn, he recruits a crew of thieves, including the young heroine Vin, to lead a rebellion against the Lord Ruler. As the Lord Ruler goes to more extreme measures to keep order in the city of Luthadel, the population reaches the breaking point and Kelsier and his crew are able to overthrow the Lord Ruler, but at a great cost.
Emperor Mapidere has unified the island kingdoms, but at a brutal price. He’s brought peace, but also instituted numerous public works projects that have crushed his people under the burden of taxes and slavery. When he dies and his young, unprepared son assumes the throne, the time is ripe for revolution. Against that backdrop the brutal warrior Mata Zyndu and his unlikely friend Kuni Garu lead a rebellion that topples the Empire. And that’s where the problems begin.
The War for Independence is over fairly quickly in Brian MacLellan’s debut, but the aftermath resonates for an entire trilogy. Modeled after the French Revolution and Napoleon, the novel opens with Field Marshal Tamas storming the palace of Adro, and brutally executing the royal family. But revolutions rarely go smoothly, and Tamas soon finds the entrenched powers of the Royal Cabal plotting to retake control of Adro and aligning with its neighbors and enemies. Oh, and the Gods get involved as well.